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The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  984 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
Athlete. Runner. Marathoner. Are these words you wouldn't exactly use to describe yourself? Do you consider yourself too old or too out of shape to run a marathon? But somewhere deep inside have you always admired the people who could reach down and come up with the mental and physical strength to complete such a daunting and rewarding accomplishment? It doesn't have to be ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published January 11th 1998)
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Ron Martirano I'd say yes to all of the above. The introduction walks readers to the point they need to get to in order to begin the actual training (basically: be…moreI'd say yes to all of the above. The introduction walks readers to the point they need to get to in order to begin the actual training (basically: be able to jog for 30 minutes). As for the recommendation, the book is as much about mental toughness as it is increasing weekly mileage leading up to the race, so I would recommend to runners, nonrunners, and marathon vets. I'm signed up for my first in November, am very confident that I will be ready at the end of the 16-week program (but I'm also giving myself a head start by incorporating a pretraining program to get used to the time commitment for four-day-a-week training).(less)
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Community Reviews

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UPDATE: May 18th, 2009
I said in my original review I'd come back to give an update. I wished more people had done that when I was reading the reviews of this book. husband and I ran the Ogden, UT marathon two days ago. Long story short...this book helped get us there. Follow this can do it.


This book is so much more than just a training schedule, as I originally assumed it would be. It gives you the too
Fuzzy Gerdes
Aug 30, 2007 Fuzzy Gerdes rated it it was amazing
I'm signed up for the Chicago Marathon and I'm training by myself using the Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer.

This is a book that comes out of a class at the University of Northern Iowa that is a joint class between a psychology professor and a phys. ed. professor -- the phys. ed. professor brings the training you need to complete a marathon and the psychology professor brings a lot of self-helpy stuff about the mental preparation you need to get through the training process and then the race itself
Oct 20, 2009 Natalie rated it it was amazing
READ THIS if you've ever thought about running a marathon, or even a half. My loving hubby got this for me for Christmas and he made a great choice. There's a lot of useful information - not all of which I followed to a T - but it was very good to read and think about. I was able to pick and choose what worked for me. It had some good advice that I did take to heart though! And what can I say? It obviously works! I finished my first marathon using this training plan!

PS: I read it twice: once bef
Feb 14, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
Even though I'm training for my 2nd marathon and consider myself a runner, I wanted to read this book to follow the 16-week training program. The chapters are broken down by weeks of training, so I'm only reading one chapter a week and focusing on that week's training tip and schedule. I would recommend this book to both "non-runners", as well as "runners" who are training for a marathon.
May 25, 2011 Christina rated it it was amazing
This is an awesome book for someone training for their first marathon. After two months of training for my first half-marathon, I've been shocked by how much of running is mental. This book has given me tons of great ideas for handling that part of running.

The authors are a psychology professor and a pysh ed professor who have taken multiple groups of students through a class termed "the marathon class." Most of these students have not been runners but all but one of them has been able to comple
Wendi Klaiber
Nov 09, 2013 Wendi Klaiber rated it really liked it
I actually started this book 10 years ago. I was training for a marathon with a group of friends from work; however, I quit after I reached the 8 mile long run. At the time, my children were very young, and I just couldn't find the time needed for the runs. My Dad also trained with this group of friends 10 years ago, and he & one other girl, Isabelle, actually ran the half marathon together in Seattle. Isabelle continued with the training and completed his first marathon run!

Ten years later,
Mar 01, 2009 Meagan rated it really liked it
A very thorough training program for the first time marathoner. The most helpful parts of the book are the mental techniques outlined in each chapter. I've already started using several of them though I am only on my second week of training and they really work!

The running schedule itself is probably better for the person who is completely new to running, rather than someone who has been running for a while but is attempting her first marathon. As someone in the latter category I would recommen
Trần Thanh Mai
May 20, 2015 Trần Thanh Mai rated it it was amazing
đọc xong chỉ muốn rèn luyện và rèn luyện nữa để nhanh nhanh chóng chóng có đủ nền tảng thể lực còn đăng ký tham gia một cuộc thi marathon trong năm tới, Danang International Marathon 2016 chẳng hạn, biết đâu, ờ
Jan 17, 2009 Travis rated it liked it
Interesting thesis: that non-runners can run a marathon (the distance that was once defined as "running this far once killed a man"). I liked the story of the fact that this book is based on a college semester course that involves training for and then running a marathon. There were a few good points, and the fact that they used their semester one year to test half the students running only 4 days a week and found that they could still complete the Marathon was very helpful when I was training t ...more
May 27, 2007 Kate rated it really liked it
What can I say, it all made good sense, and got me to the starting line of my first marathon. Excellent as far as offering psychological support to people who are building up to long distance runs -- I initially started training for a marathon with a team of five people, and they all dropped out... none were reading this. I was the only one who made it through the sixteen weeks of training. I'm glad I read this. It champions the idea that by taking gradual steps towards a goal, most people can d ...more
D. B.
Jan 06, 2015 D. B. rated it really liked it
Here's the deal: I suck at running. I never liked doing it until I read this book; even after reading it, and even after falling in love with running and deepening that love by experiencing the majesty and glory of a runner's high, I still suck at it. But this book made me believe I could do it.

The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer is the cheeriest book about running I've ever seen. Each chapter is divided into three parts: a pep talk, practical advice, and testimonials from some of the happiest peo
Oct 05, 2015 Alicia rated it it was amazing
I read this while training for my first marathon. The mental strategies provided in this book were key to getting me to the finish line.
Aug 13, 2015 Kristin rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
I am not currently planning to run a marathon, but I'm sure this book would get me there! I am a casual triathlete who is trying to increase run distance. I had not run for several years due to injury and I have been having a hard time motivating myself to get back into it. I feel like I have the cardio base to run well, but mentally can't handle doing it for long. It only took a few chapters of this book for me to begin to get over my mental hurdles, take some pressure off, and start enjoying r ...more
Anabel Olivo
Nov 29, 2014 Anabel Olivo rated it it was amazing
I will be running my first Marathon within 2 weeks. I have been following this training program and feel great so far. This book is wonderful because it shares lots of useful stories and tips that help with mental strength. I also love the approach of the experience of running the marathon as a metaphor of the challenging nature of life.
Thuan Le
May 26, 2016 Thuan Le rated it really liked it
Shelves: run
This book focus on nonrunner or beginner who has had no experience with running for a long time.
So this book is divided in 18 chapters which also 18 weeks of marathon plan. Every week, there are two parts: physical training (or the mileage for the week) and metal training.
The physical training is also in every sports. But the metal training is exclusively important in training for a marathon. As the author said, after the 30km the marathon would actually begin. Because the intended readers are n
Gillian Wang
Jul 05, 2014 Gillian Wang rated it it was amazing
I found this book after I seriously sprained my ankle in a 13-mile training run two weeks ago which was so bad that I couldn't even walk a single step for a week. I was in despair as my first marathon was only 6 weeks away in Jun. I was afraid that I didn't have enough time to recover and to catch up with the rigorous training schedules that started from week 9. By reading this book, I realized that I did many things wrong. I've done two halves with relative ease so blindly assumed that the full ...more
Nov 17, 2011 Trice rated it liked it
Starting through this again - kinda weird because at present I'm using it for inspiration, thoughts on running, and helps as I start running longer. I'm not using the training schedule at present because I'm working on another one, but the ends of the chapters make me want to Get Up Right Now and Go Run That Marathon! This is a good attribute for a running book - it's a great encourager, which is one of the primary purposes of this particular book - it's just weird to have to restrain myself. Us ...more
Hilary Roberts
Feb 12, 2013 Hilary Roberts rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
No - I don't have any plans to run a marathon anytime soon. I have, however, been looking into running a Ragnar Relay or a 1/2 marathon sometime this spring. I checked out several different books from the library and this is by far my favorite.

The book gives a schedule to use for training, and then the book is divided into chapters - one chapter for each week of training. Each chapter is also divided into three sections: The first talks about psychological aspects of running, the second talks a
Oct 07, 2009 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: runners, anyone thinking about running a marathon, especially 1st time marathoners!
Recommended to Jenny by: Val Infanger
Shelves: running
I cannot speak highly enough about this book! It is almost surreal to finally be posting about this book since I have been reading it for months now. I started "officially" training for my first marathon following the training program in this book back in June and just ran my marathon last Saturday! It was a great experience. And this book was a huge help in getting me prepared and feeling ready for the race. It gives great physical guidelines but also mental strategies that I used throughout th ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Dawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
I love this book because it is not about running to compete with others or to achieve a certain time but about running for oneself. Running to accomplish one make the distance you set out to finish. More than that, it's about life and using mental and physical running techniques to enhance your life experience (and vice versa.) Some of the techniques discussed here have already came intuitively to me during my own recreational running, and some were new to me. So reading thi ...more
Richard Butlin
Apr 17, 2011 Richard Butlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, fitness
I have returned to update my review (original review below) after getting to the end of the book. Today I ran the London Marathon (in 4:25) after working through the training and advice in this book. I found it really helpful, but one thing that worked well for me was to spread the 16 week training programme over a longer period. That way, if I found a particular week hard, or had a cold or an injury, I could stay at one level of progress for a couple of weeks and move on when I was ready, rathe ...more
Oct 05, 2011 Allison rated it it was amazing
So, I'm not finished with this book yet, but I have to return it to the library and I wanted to write down my thoughts about what I've read so far. This is a book I will buy! I think it is perfect for me since I'm a "non-runner" and training to do a half-marathon. I do plan to run a marathon some day, but I feel like it's not my season for that until my children are all in school and I will have more flexibility to get in all those miles of training runs.

I LOVE the premise of the book, that any
Ron Martirano
Apr 25, 2015 Ron Martirano rated it really liked it
My marathon is still seven months away, but this is the book that will get me across the finish line. Practical, instructional, and inspirational, the program within is as much about mental toughness as it is physical development. More impressive is the perspective that the authors' are pushing, with the race itself and the training that leads to it serving as a very tangible argument for each individual's internal control of the surrounding world.
Aug 17, 2012 Jun rated it it was amazing
I used this book several years ago, but I think it still deserves a review. The title of this book, The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer, is pretty much self-explanatory, and does a damn good job at sticking to its title.

The book takes you on a 18 weeks of training (each chapter is a different week). Initially, that whole idea of having to train for 18 weeks sounds crazy but I manged to keep it up and it was a perfect pace for me. The great thing is you don’t have to limit yourself to 18 weeks. You
Apr 11, 2016 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: running
I read this while training for my first marathon and even though I have run probably 10 or so half marathons in the pat, I found it chock full of tips and inspirational support. If you are interested in finishing a marathon, I highly recommend this book -- you believe you can do it by the end of the book and the week by week reality checks are helpful to read as you go through the actual training program. I have blended this program with the training group plan and find it to be that positive re ...more
Roberto Lopes
Sep 07, 2014 Roberto Lopes rated it really liked it
Be prepared! I particularly enjoyed the focus on mental toughness. These tools are useful in all spheres of life. Such demanding training proves that we can create our own reality. The process includes several meetings with yourself during tough conditions, little time is left to spend at the couch. Sounds like fun!
Jenny Reynolds
Nov 07, 2015 Jenny Reynolds rated it it was amazing
This book was the perfect self help style marathon guide. I spur of the moment signed up for one just 15 weeks away and able to just about run a 10k.

This book gave me the confidence, tools and training plan to get there and love running!

Aug 02, 2015 Satyasmrti rated it really liked it
Still to put this into practice but has plenty of good ideas for wanna be runners. I was recommended this book by a marathon runner who himself had to start from scratch with no prior experience.
Mark Fallon
Mar 09, 2009 Mark Fallon rated it really liked it
This is a great book for first-time marathoners, and a very good book for people who've run a few marathons. The book is based on a class the authors give at the University of Northern Iowa. The training plan is basic (4 days a week, 18-mile max long run. They've tracked their results, and have had a 99% success rates with the students following this plan.

What I liked best about the book is the discussion around the psychological aspects of training for and running a marathon. Many of the techni
Feb 18, 2016 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
This book helped to get me through my first marathon training/race and also changed the way I look at life. I highly recommend for any athlete and anyone in general!
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